While some kids will go home from school with their backpacks filled with books, others will go home with food to help feed them over the weekend.
It's all a part of the food backpack program and schools is Marion County are gearing up to start theirs, but not without some help from the community.
The food back-pack program, or 'Buddy Pack' as it's called in Hannibal, helped feed more than 300 school kids last year and officials expect that number to be about the same this year.
If a child is considered 'in crisis' or 'in need,' they are given the option to take home a bag filled with food each Friday to help feed them over the weekend. Items in the backpack include granola bars, peanut butter, Ramen noodles, soup, etc.
And, despite what many people may thing, organizers say the program is not just for those on free and reduced lunches.
"It could be a divorce situation, it could be flooding where their home was destroyed situation," said Stephanie Thomeczek, chief executive officer for Families and Communities Together (F.A.C.T) in Hannibal. "They may not qualify for what we would typically think of as a needy family but, sometimes a little bag of food is just a perk that helps that child get through the weekend."
Thomeczek says the cost for a child to have one of the buddy packs for one weekend is less than $2.00, down from $3.50 it cost them last year.
"The last few packings were done very economical," said Thomeczek. "So, we've got a little seed money to get started this year, but in the end it takes the community to be able to help ourselves."
Volunteers are needed to help stuff the food bags September 17 before the first bag goes out October 1st. For more information call (573)-221-2285.
Hannibal Ayerco Gas Stations are partnering up with the Buddy Pack program to help supply school children with extra food for the weekends. Raffle tickets will be available at 16 area Ayerco locations for a chance to win a scooter or one of five gas cards. All proceeds will be given to aid the Buddy Pack Program of your choice. The raffle begins Saturday, Sept. 7 and ends Sept. 30.
The Ayerco Gas Station on Mark Twain Ave. will also be participating on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 11-2 with several events including food, drinks and prizes. Again, all proceeds will be give to the Buddy Pack Program.
For donations to Hannibal: visit the FACT web site, www.mcfact.org
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